Look at the following sentences: This is my friend. My friend got good marks.
This structure is rather clumsy and awkward and most people would say: This is my friend who got good marks.
The same is true in French- you can link sentences together using qui, que or dont, but you need to know which one to use.(qui/que and dont can be used for animate and inanimate objects so they are the same as who, which, that etc.)
Consider the sentence:
My friend is the subject of the second clause - my friend did the 'getting of good marks' so we link the sentences with qui
- Voici mon ami qui a reçu de bonnes notes
All the following sentences would use qui - the item in the first clause is the subject of the second clause:
- This is the girl who kissed me
- There's that boy who beat me up
- Anne, who hadn't felt well all day, threw up over John on the coach
- David, who has fancied Abi for ages, finally asked her out last week.
Now consider this sentence:
My friend is the object of the second clause - (I is the subject, my friend is the object) so we link the sentence with que
- Voici mon ami que j'ai vu dans le parc
All the following sentences would be linked with que - the item in the first clause is the object of the second clause
- This is the girl who I kissed
- There's that boy who David beat up
- Anne, who John had been chatting up on the coach, was sick
- David, who Abi has fancied for ages, finally asked her out last week.
Dont is similar to qui and que. It is used to link sentences but means of whom/of which/about whom etc. It is used when the verb in the second clause is followed by de. You cannot end a sentence or a clause with de in French so:-
- The man who I was talking about/of - L'homme que je parlais de
- The man about whom I was talking - L'homme dont je parlais.
Lots of verbs in French take de when they don't in English.
This is shown below:
|to need||Here's the book that I need|
|avoir besoin de||Voici le livre dont j'ai besoin|
|to use||Here's the book that I use every day|
|se servir de||Voici le livre dont je me sers tous les jours|
|to fear/to be scared of||Here's the teacher I'm scared of|
|avoir peur de||Voici le prof dont j'ai peur|
Dont can also mean whose
- Voici le garçon dont le père est maire = This is the boy whose father is mayor
- L'homme, dont le frère est notre facteur, est très riche = The man, whose brother is our postman, is very rich.
Fill the gap by dragging the appropriate missing word - qui, que or dont - from the bottom of the table: